Monday, 2 September 2013

Putting out feelers

Prayer time for the skipper 
He pauses while a passenger sluices her body under fresh water
If our re-entry into Turkey was unsettling, then every day of the past week has worked against our sense of being in a foreign place.  We've been met only with kindness from Turks at popular anchorages where we've often been the only non-Turks on the block. When we pulled into Netsel marina last night, we were greeted with an easy familiarity. "Which dock are you on?" the boys in the pilot boat asked, and took us back 'home' to K pontoon.  "And how is your husband?" they asked in the office when I brought in our paperwork. There is, it seems, a small place for us in the collective memory already. 

Unofficial harbourmaster Capt Ali helps an all-female crew with lines ashore

Ali ties a line around a rock

Ali is a 'shopping man' too - he sells figs picked in the morning

Ali naps under the shade on his small boat

Chatting to the crew of Kayacan
It's important to weigh this personal warmth - even in the most fleeting encounters - against the heaviness of what's unfolding in and around Syria. A morning exchange with the crew of the training yacht Kayacan sees me swimming the few strokes between our boats to take delivery of "island tea" leaves they've gathered the evening before and insist I try ("careful, it lowers your blood pressure if you drink too much", cautions their skipper). Our enjoyment of mellow music coming from a neighbouring charter boat leads us into conversation with four intensely interesting Istanbulis down for the long weekend and the surprising discovery that they are Jewish (there are 18,000 Turkish Jews, they tell us). 

Boats pour into the anchorage at Kizil Adasi, near Bozburun

All pile into the picnic boat (and below)
Friday was a public holiday (Victory Day) and politicians made grandstanding speeches in Ankara but those who could took to the water in boats large and small. Life goes on, as it must, because who knows what will come next, and in Turkey, as in many other countries in the region, history shows that the future cannot be relied upon to be better than the present. 

So, a few pictures of what we've seen from our floating observation platform which, most recently, has been parked in the Bozburun area, one of our very favourite places on the Turkish coast. 

Squeezed in tightly in the lee of  Kizil Adesi

The Irish poet Seamus Heaney was buried this week, and the BBC reminded us that when he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1995 it was "for works of lyrical beauty and ethical depth, which exalt everyday miracles and the living past". Let's hope to see those wherever we are. 

Feral goats on the shoreline of Kizil Adasi, just off our stern

And under our stern, clouds of finger-size fish

Twilight in the anchorage at Kizil Adasi

1 comment:

  1. Diana
    There was a lovely extract from Heaney's Nobel Prize acceptance speech in today's AFR if you want to try and look it up.